Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 20, 2017

Republican Tax Bill Is A Prelude To Higher Taxes

Yesterday the Republican controlled U.S. Senate passed a gigantic tax bill. The House will today agree to it and Trump will sign it as soon as possible.

The bill lowers the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%. It lowers the top tax bracket from 39.6% to 37%. It will burden at least half of the poor people. It is wholesale looting:

When fully-phased in, the bill will give 83 percent of its benefits to the top 1 percent. Incredibly, it raises taxes on half of working families.

Republicans always argue along the fraudulent theory of supply side economics. They claim that higher income for companies will allow them to invest more and to thereby increase economic activity. It is a stupid argument. There is no empirical data to support it and no real social scientist takes it seriously. Most companies do not lack money. They can also borrow at record low rates. No company holds back on investing if there is additional profitable demand for its products. Without additional demand there is simply no justification for any additional investment.

Demand can not increase if the people have no money to buy. To increase demand, disposable income has to rise via higher wages, more welfare distribution or less taxes in the lowest tax brackets. (An increase of consumer debt can only work so long and has negative long term consequences.) 

The new tax law will increase the federal deficit by roughly $1.5 trillion over ten years. The giant rise in debt is intentional. It will be the justification for step two of the republican plan to bring the U.S. back to the Gilded Age. Speaker Paul Ryan already announced such plans:

Congressional Republicans and the Trump administration are eyeing sweeping legislative and regulatory changes to the country’s welfare system next year.

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said he wants to use the fast-track reconciliation process next year for entitlement reform, with a focus on promoting work and career-based education.
...
There’s broad support in the Republican conference for changing the federal safety net to impose stricter work requirements on programs like Medicaid and food stamps.

For now the Republicans will likely hold back on medicare and social security. These are earned benefits, not "welfare". Even Republican voters want to keep them without major changes. Any attempt to touch these programs would lead to a heavy electoral backlash. It is thereby unlikely that the Republicans will be able to steal enough from the poor to compensate for all the money they now hand to the rich. Instead they will increase the federal debt.

While most voters do not like the current tax bill, the Republicans might benefit from it in the 2018 midterm election. Most of the negative effects of the bill will only be felt in 2019 and later years. It is those future years that the republicans have to fear. As long as interests rates are low an increase in federal debt has little effect. But when interest rates rise, as they will, the federal budget situation will become way more difficult.

The mini-Reagan in the White House and Republican Congress members like to compare their current bill with Ronald Reagan's 1981 tax bill. That one went into a similar direction than the current one. The top tax rate decreased from 70% to 28%. But by 1982 and in later years Reagan had to introduce the highest tax increases ever to keep the budget at least somewhat stable. Tax revenue as a percentage of GDP did not decrease at all under Reagan.

The two steps of decreasing taxes and slashing welfare the Republicans planned for will likely be followed by third (and forth) step that will decrease the impact of the original bill. Historically the overall positive and/or negative impact of this pandering to their rich sponsors will likely be much less than both sides of the aisles are predicting.

Posted by b on December 20, 2017 at 02:54 PM | Permalink

Comments
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@100

Down under are you?

Posted by: Forest | Dec 21, 2017 1:40:20 PM | 101

thanks dh, karlof1 and piotr! yes - piotr - may as well call canada the new trumpland at this point - lol! that would be especially so if we get another first class reject like harper back in power.. for now trudeau light will have to suffice!

Posted by: james | Dec 21, 2017 2:01:16 PM | 102

Please. Reagan reduced the tax rate AND HE INCREASED FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SPENDING (thinking it would prove that Democratic federal government spending would damage the country instead of benefiting it, as it did).

Reagan increased it by 3X. Stockman resigned out of a protest, and bitched in a 1985 interview that Reagan wasn't listening to him..

The economy flourished. It soared.

To see those amounts, LOOK AT THE ORIGINAL DOCS:

Table 1.1—Summary of Receipts, Outlays, and Surpluses or Deficits (-): 1789–2022
The webpage: https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/historical-tables/
This document: hist01z1.xls
Click on this link to download the doc: Table 1.1—Summary of Receipts, Outlays, and Surpluses or Deficits (-): 1789–2022

Posted by: MRW | Dec 21, 2017 2:21:10 PM | 103

mrw - i was wondering if you would show up.. have you got an extra pair of rose coloured glasses for me?

Posted by: james | Dec 21, 2017 2:39:46 PM | 104

What is next - the UN moving from New York?

Posted by: somebody | Dec 21, 2017 1:22:45 PM | 98

To make them feel sorry for their errors, perhaps UN should be moved to The Bronx.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 21, 2017 2:50:21 PM | 105

This article is ridiculous. Tax cuts always spur economic activity. Comcast, Boeing and ATT are giving out $1000 bonuses to hundreds of thousands of employees to celebrate. That is only the beginning. Europe is complaining that this tax plan is unfair...to themselves. The see their companies expanding here in the USA rather than Europe. Hey, I really like your site, but you are not a businessman or an economist, unless you are a Paul Krugman economist that just doesn't get it. Tell me how letting me keep more of the money I earn is a bad thing! I'm going to spend it on what my family wants, not on what Uncle Sugar wants. Trust me, the economy is going to benefit. This quarter's GDP came in at 3.2%, in 2018 it'll breach 4%. Let's compare that to 8 years of 2% under the socialist Obama regime. Do yourself a favor, stick with your excellent reporting and commentary on Middle East issues. Leave the economic forecasting to the Austrian Economists. They are the only guys with a good track record.
USA TODAY ARTICLE

Posted by: S Grekko | Dec 21, 2017 3:05:20 PM | 106

Yes a very brave move by Canada to stand up to Trump and shout......"no comment". This show of strength is right up there with their courageous solidarity with the USA and Israel in voting against resolutions condemning fascism. People are noticing that the "good guy" mask is a little worn and something surprisingly ugly may lurk beneath.

But I guess Nikki Haley will need an extra sheet of paper and more pencil to complete her list of people who have rejected American policy. Could even suggest that the USA looks a tad "isolated" :)

Posted by: Sad Canuck | Dec 21, 2017 3:18:18 PM | 107

Nikke Haley is making a list and checking it twice! But she's definitely not Santa, no way.

Posted by: Quentin | Dec 21, 2017 3:41:43 PM | 108

105

It looks like Republicans have planned to close the UN since January.

So where will the headquarters go - Saudi Arabia or Qatar?

Posted by: somebody | Dec 21, 2017 3:49:21 PM | 109

@TG, 73, spot on

deficit owls

Posted by: financial matters | Dec 21, 2017 4:10:49 PM | 110

Considering the US tendency to even bigger disparities between rich and poor,
whatever Dickens wrote about Victorian England ugliness is actually applicable
to the US of A.

And it will get worse, much worse.

Posted by: CarlD | Dec 21, 2017 4:26:22 PM | 111

It’s time for Q&A!

I've spent a fair amount of time with welfare recipients in many states. Overwhelmingly clear is the disincentive to stop.
– Posted by: TSP | Dec 20, 2017 6:20:23 PM | 20

The problem with your assertion is that the GOP stated it would go after the SS, which is fund, not a welfare program. The USA never had a welfare state. The welfare state was a restricted phenomenon of some Western European countries, which lasted until the end of the 60s. Let’s not commit any anachronism.

FDR was, and still is, viciously attacked from the right and from the far left.
– Posted by: Lochearn | Dec 20, 2017 7:55:13 PM | 27

Well, FDR did say that he was literally “saving capitalism from itself”. He kinda did.

Why should corporations pay taxes at a higher rate then their foreign competitors, and then to add insult to injury, be required to provide health insurance to their employees unlike any other country in the world?
In fact why should corporations be taxed at all, since they are providing employment (a good thing) to people who DO pay taxes? In fact many municipalities offer no-tax incentives to corporations to lure them to their communities for just that reason -- to provide employment.
There are tens of millions of corporations in the US employing many millions of people, with small corporations employing more than half the workforce. They need a break, and the boost they are being given here will contribute to higher employment which should be a major goal, not paying taxes.
– Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 20, 2017 10:46:12 PM | 37

Morally, nobody is forced to do nothing for or against nobody: in the real world, brute force always decides. The Romans had a very interesting word for this, imperium, which is the socially determined monopoly of brute force.

But alas, you’re factually wrong: albeit the USA has a nominal tax rate of 35% (well above the OCDE average), it has many loopholes and breaks that effectively makes it 27% – well in the OCDE average. Trump’s plan makes it 21% nominal – significantly lower than the OCDE average – but all of this is academic: American corporations have full access to tax havens, specially the State of Delaware, but also the British possessions, of which the Cayman Islands are, by far, the biggest. In tax havens, of course, you pay zero tax, so it really doesn’t matter if your country’s tax is 1,000,000% or 0.000,000,001% – the biggest multinationals will always pay 0% if they want to. That is, unless you’re advocating for a negative tax rate, that is, the Government will have to actually pay for the multinationals to merely exist, as if they are some kind of God that you have to pay sacrifices for.

On the necessity of tax, the question is very simple: there are infrastructural investments that are, by their nature, not profitable because of their sheer scale. No private capital would jump the boat and sacrifice itself for the wellbeing of the competition. That’s why the State exist: to make the “business friendly” ecosystem, without which capitalism wouldn’t exist. It’s a mistake to label every tax working class friendly, and it’s an even bigger mistake to label every government (State) anti-capitalist. The modern concept of Nation-State is a capitalist invention, they are not, and never will be, pro-working class.

your stats are just more fake news. Only 50% of Americans actually pay any taxes other than SS/Medicare payroll taxes. So it is perfectly true to say that the top 50% of taxpayers get 100% of the benefits. Is that fair?
– Posted by: DonFromWyoming | Dec 20, 2017 11:42:55 PM | 44

But you’re not considering VAT, which is, by far, the most regressive and the most aggressive tax (and not only the USA). When Mitt Romney made that infamous “47%” speech, he was only talking about income tax. But income tax is not even what bites income the most: it is VAT, which bite the poorest the most.

In Brazil, for example, the poorer workers pay the most percentage of their total income in tax, any tax (almost 60%) – even though they don’t pay any income tax at all. That’s because VAT in Brazil is very high, and falls most on the essential goods for survival (food, water, electricity).

CEOs are rewarded for expanding company business, not sitting on current levels. That's any size business, and most business in the US is small, hoping to become big.
– Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 20, 2017 11:51:27 PM | 45

Except they are not: google yourself and you’ll find CEOs who got fabulous risings and bonuses while their companies actually registered losses (i.e. negative growth, shrinking). If what you stated was true, then CEOs should get pay cuts when their companies registered losses. That’s not what the empirical evidence demonstrates.

In the end, what else is there, besides family; both stateside, and here in my adopted country?
– Posted by: V. Arnold | Dec 21, 2017 3:47:23 AM | 62

The concept that the family is the atom of any kind of society comes from the Roman times, and is only valid in a system where private property is hegemonic. The only function of family it to enable inheritance, which is the way private property accumulates and perpetuates over time.

In a socialist and communist system, everybody “owns” everything, so there wouldn’t be any need for family.

PS: we shouldn’t confuse private property with personal possession. When we say private property in the Marxist meaning, we are referring strictly to the means of production (things that produce things). Nobody is going to steal your pants, your lunch or your secret porn collection in a socialist/communist system.

Wasn't the drop in Soviet life expectancy one of the signs of its future demise? I seem to remember that's how Emmanuel Todd got it - increased infant mortality, high suicide rates and the like.
– Posted by: Clueless Joe | Dec 21, 2017 6:13:06 AM | 66

I'm almost sure the USSR as a whole never registered a fall in life expectancy. Its birth rate fell dramatically, and its life expectancy stagnated for decades, in the 75ish years. The fall in life expectancy happened after its disintegration (particularly in Russia).

So when the issue is giving tax cuts to billionaires, wasting trillions on endless pointless winless wars, or spending trillions bailing out the big banks, well, 'supply side economics' and deficits don't matter.
Oh, but now we just HAVE to cut social security and medicare for the middle class, and raise taxes on the poor and the middle class (maybe a nice VAT national sales tax on the production and consumption of useful products and services, right), because you see, suddenly deficits matter.
– Posted by: TG | Dec 21, 2017 8:58:55 AM | 73

Yes, in capitalist terms, this is a correct logic: defense investment is infrastructure (unless you’re spending it on soldiers’ salaries and other compensations) and SS and health care are services, not infrastructural investment.
Capitalism only considers something an “infrastructure” (the scientifically correct term is “fixed capital”) when it enables the intensification of labor exploitation.

Corporations derive their profits from having a healthy well educated public not just to consume their products, but also to manufacture, transport, warehouse & distribute products and services.
– Posted by: Debsisdead | Dec 21, 2017 10:44:27 AM | 79

No, corporations derive their profits from labor exploitation. Just because you’re a first-worlder who’s not actually seeing the exploitation (because you’re on the consumption side, the exploitation is happening in some Third World country), it doesn’t mean capitalism magically changed its inner logic.

Posted by: VK | Dec 21, 2017 4:29:51 PM | 112

There have only been 7 times in the history of the USA when the federal government did not have a deficit and carried a surplus. SEVEN TIMES.

And each time was followed by a depression.

Posted by: MRW | Dec 21, 2017 4:56:27 PM | 113

Posted by: VK | Dec 21, 2017 4:29:51 PM | 112

No taxation, no representation, no state.

US billionaires are deluded if they think they can protect themselves by private armies. The way this is going the US will dissolve into a country of warlords.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 21, 2017 5:29:59 PM | 114

To b and Jen, and all reflecting on the lowering of life expectancy in the US.

In addition to drug overdoses, suicide is also on a huge rise. We know that veterans of our wars are killing themselves at appalling rates, but last week we saw that farmers are now committing suicide at more than twice the rate of even veterans.... 5 times the national average.

And researchers believe farmer suicide rates are even higher than recorded since many kill themselves in ways to make it appear to be a farm accident so that their family can receive insurance and other death benefits.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/dec/06/why-are-americas-farmers-killing-themselves-in-record-numbers

During the neoliberal nightmare of Boris Yeltsin's "Chicago Boys," Milton Friedman-designed reign in Russia, life expectancies dropped by as much as 5 to 10 years. Like we are blaming "drug abuse" in the US, in Russia, alcohol abuse was listed as a principle cause. But really, those are symptoms of the emotionally ravaged victims of economic plundering in both cases.


And despite misunderstandings, or attempts at obfuscation, "neoliberal" is a term with a well-defined meaning. It is an economic ideology based on deregulation of business, reduced taxes on businesses and the wealthy, cutting of social services and privatization of public properties.

It confuses some people who associate it with the more modern meaning of "liberal" which has devolved into basically "identity politics" issues. But just as "NeoConservative" is a foreign policy ideology based on endless wars of aggression, and therefore has little to do with traditional "conservative" politics, "Neoliberal" has little to do with what we think of as "Liberal" politics.

Posted by: Daniel | Dec 21, 2017 5:30:22 PM | 115

Daniel @ 115:

Thanks for your reply. Clueless Joe @ 66, inquiring about the causes of reduced life expectancies in "the Soviet Union" (which hasn't existed for at least 25 years now), should also read your answer.

Incidentally The Moscow Times (no friend of Vladimir Putin) has reported that life expectancies for Russians born in 2016 have reached all-time highs with the average female expecting to live to 77 years.
https://themoscowtimes.com/news/russian-life-expectancy-hits-record-high-58274

Posted by: Jen | Dec 21, 2017 5:39:02 PM | 116

Here's some news from The Intercept on what corporations plan to do with the windfalls from the tax cuts - and lo and behold, several plan to use the money to buy back shares or engage in mergers and acquisitions.

Zaid Jilani, CORPORATIONS SAY PUBLICLY THEY’LL POCKET THE TAX CUT, BUT REPUBLICANS AREN’T LISTENING

So much for those MoA commenters who claim the tax reforms will stimulate business growth and encourage corporations to create more jobs for people.

Posted by: Jen | Dec 21, 2017 5:44:35 PM | 117

MRW @ 133

Sadly, for humanity, you're wasting your time. There may be a 1,000 people on the planet that understands monetary economics…you're one of them. A framework "so simple the mind repels it" a famous economist once said.

One day when were all scraping garbage can lids you may have an audience. Until then way too much groupthink to overcome.

It's good to see you though and I hope all is well with you and yours.

paul

Posted by: paulmeli | Dec 21, 2017 6:02:27 PM | 118

James. It's easier to give you the opposite:

Nine Nations voted with US on Jerusalem as Capitol of Israel:
Israel 8.3 million population
Guatemala 17
Honduras 8.3
Marshall Islands 0.05
Micronesia 0.5
Nauru 0.01
Palau 0.02
Togo 8

7.6 billion total world population
41.7 million people live in countries that voted with US.

6.5% of the nations voting (4.6% of UN member states), representing 0.005% of the world’s population.

35 nations abstained (18% of UN member states).

Posted by: Daniel | Dec 21, 2017 6:06:39 PM | 119

@Jen #117
We had a class here recently on misleading headlines, remember that?

Moving from your headline "Corporations say publicly they'll pocket the tax cut" down to the article we see

Home Depot . .the company’s CFO Carol Tomé . . .when asked about the impact of tax reform on the firm: It really all depends on if it happens and when it happens and how we would spend it. . .If it were to happen in 2019, we might use the tax — cash tax savings to invest in the business and then use — generated cash to back buy [sic] shares. . .

That's it -- one corporation says "it really all depends . ..blah blah."

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 21, 2017 6:19:06 PM | 120

@Daniel 115/@Jen 117

Thank You both. Only my felines keep me from an early exit.
Especially the skyrocketing suicides of farmers can be attributed to the Monsanto perverted cornering of the industrial agri'culture'. When farmers in India committed suicide in record numbers, every other possible reason was given by the GMO overlords. Farmers in the US were not paying attention to this tragedy. Even though farmers are traditionally fond of farmers in other countries. But since American farmers saw their own livelihood threatened, they focused on avoiding their own demise. With the now known results.

Corporations are not people. They have no heart and their perverted bottom line will destroy the lives of anybody as long as they can make a profit.

To those who are not able to look through the deceit and still believe the fairytale of individual corporations, a search for "who owns..." will reveal that the biggest institutional shareholder of the majority of US corporations is the "Vanguard Group". It needs to be seen to be believed, but the American society is now wholly under the control of Vanguard - writing all laws via ALEC.

Time for people to overcome artificial divisions and direct their demands to the top of the pyramid and not to its enabling and paid for 'politicians'.

Posted by: nottheonly1 | Dec 21, 2017 6:23:20 PM | 121

Posted by: VK | Dec 21, 2017 4:29:51 PM |
A long list of angry outdated tosh which started off ok (apart from the general one-eyedness- most likely daddy issues have led VK to mistrust anyone who isn't themselves. A bane of humanism always getting underfoot when there is work to be done) but anyway I decided to contest the point you singled out in my last post where you challenged the notion I put forward that corporations use the advantages of society that is the creation of a healthy educated population is necessary for their customer base and to fill positions in their structure. What are you smoking VK?
Yep corps do exploit as I pointed out but they exploit in order to deliver goods and services to those who they deem to be their customer base and in doing so depend on having a mob of humans who will buy their products, the bigger the mob the more they make. It has been demonstrated ad tedium that a corporation which sells 'luxury' products to a small group say the elite and wannabe elite, is not nearly as profitable as one which sells to the wider population of a market, the masses.
This of course is the inherent contradiction in late stage corporate capitalism, as the difference between the elite and the rest of us expands, so does the elite's ability to generate wealth since their products struggle to find a market.
The only way to get any type of handle on that is through outright theft - resource theft which has become noticeably more difficult, so difficult it is no longer 'free money' as the humans in the areas containing resources increasingly resist. Hence the growth in 'at the barrel of a gun imperialism'.
That too is becoming unsustainable and agent orange's tax cuts will inhibit amerikan ability to shoot the shit outta the darkies n take their stuff; since the reduction in federal income will impact upon the thugs who live off the buy new guns, kill more people cycle. At the same time the rich who let's face it, don't pay any tax anyhow, won't derive any benefit from the tax 'cut'.
The only winners will be the republican donor base sitting at the top of the bottom, who are too stupid to comprehend the outcome of republican vandalism will be their eventual extinction. Not that the republicans care just like the other mob, their interest doesn't extend beyond the next electoral cycle.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Dec 21, 2017 6:35:27 PM | 122

It may be interesting at this point to take a look at Kelloggs whose stated mission is 'Nourishing families so that they can flourish and thrive.'

Breakfast cereal is a highly competitive business. Why then are cornflakes so expensive?Read on....

https://www.cnbc.com/2015/09/28/puffs-flakes-and-dollars-why-your-breakfast-cereal-costs-so-much.html

Posted by: dh | Dec 21, 2017 6:55:11 PM | 123

MRW 103

The Mises institute seems to think that Reagan increased taxes overall ... yes I know, they would never be satisfied.

This here is a record by Brookings of Reagans tax increases after the tax cuts.

Orthodox economics suggest that you can't cut taxes AND government spending in a time of crisis. BUT US economy - inherited from Obama - is good. So both might be possible.

What is does to education, infrastructure and ecology is a different matter. Or foreign policy.

Lots of stuff is regulated at a federal level I suppose. So, being a woman in Russia you have a better life expectancy than being a man in Mississippi. And Russian men have a higher life expectancy than men in some parts of Mississippi.

The American model is based on liberty, not on equality or solidarity.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 21, 2017 7:14:26 PM | 124

124
add - being black in Washington DC seems to be escpecially bad for your health. How come life in Minnesota is so much better?

Posted by: somebody | Dec 21, 2017 7:18:32 PM | 125

paulmeli | Dec 21, 2017 6:02:27 PM | 118

Thanks, Paul, for the kind words and recognition. You're one of those 1,000 guys as well.

I absolutely repeat these wishes back to you, especially at Christmas time as well. If you're not celebrating it, then have a great drink! :-) And have on for me. ;-);-)

It's good to see you though and I hope all is well with you and yours.

MRW

Posted by: MRW | Dec 21, 2017 7:38:54 PM | 126

Great stuff, Jen and others.

nottheonly1, do you know the connection between Monsanto and the Rockefeller/Standard Oil cabal? In fact, that whole octopus has its tentacles in everything from education to healthcare.

James Corbett did a TERRIFIC hour-long video on the history of the Rockefellers/Standard Oil which I highly recommend for everyone.

"How Big Oil Conquered The World"
https://www.corbettreport.com/bigoil/

Posted by: Daniel | Dec 21, 2017 7:41:50 PM | 127

@125 Less KFC outlets?

Posted by: dh | Dec 21, 2017 7:42:31 PM | 128

And speaking of Monsanto, the Trump Administration is pressuring Colombia to resume spraying Glysophate on non-government controlled coca crops.

And the "gun control debate" fits here as well. The FARC rebels disarmed as part of the recent peace agreement that included the Colombian government subsidizing coca farming campesinos. Now that they're disarmed, the Colombian military is slaughtering the former rebels and their campesino supporters.

This is the second time this has happened in Colombia. Several years ago, many FARC rebels agreed to disarm and form a "legitimate" political party. Once they were disarmed, the government slaughtered 5,000 of them.

Abby Martin went to the scene of a recent massacre, and is interviewed about the situation on The Real News with Paul Jay:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBLiisKrpsk

BTW: Can anyone teach me how to post these HTML tags? I do not understand the descriptions.

Posted by: Daniel | Dec 21, 2017 8:14:07 PM | 129

Sad Canuck @107:

It's easier for Haley to write down the supporters instead. LOL


somebody @109/114:

The following places have been suggested for alternative sites such as Saint Petersburg, Montreal, Dubai, Jerusalem, and Nairobi. IMO, it should go to Geneva since it's the second largest UN site and Switzerland is well known for it's neutrality. Pulling financial aid (i.e. bribery) is the only thing that Trump can do now, unless he goes full retard by removing the UN from US soil.

Regarding warlords, one could argue that they already exists in the US. A billionaire alone would find it difficult to fund a private army, but if you have a large enough group with easy access to resources then it's possible. I'm reminded of that Matt Damon movie about a bunch of wealthy people living on a space station.

Posted by: Ian | Dec 21, 2017 8:16:33 PM | 130

Daniel:

In the comment box below, look for the "Allowed HTML Tags" section. The last example is what you need.

Posted by: Ian | Dec 21, 2017 8:23:14 PM | 131

@ Daniel who is asking for help with HTML

ping me through my web site and we can email forth and back until you understand

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 21, 2017 8:24:50 PM | 132

Debsisdead | Dec 21, 2017 6:35:27 PM | 122

Is it any wonder why the Usian's are so gullable; for the most part they have the economic knowledge of a turnip.
The just passed "tax" bill is an abomination; treason; and the final gutting of the middle and lower middle classes in the U.S..

Posted by: V. Arnold | Dec 21, 2017 8:31:04 PM | 133

Ian. I've looked, and do not understand it.

Posted by: Daniel | Dec 21, 2017 8:33:28 PM | 134

psychohistorian. I don't even know what "ping" means. I clicked your screen name and got to a site. What do I do there?

Posted by: Daniel | Dec 21, 2017 8:34:51 PM | 135

Daniel:

Using the example,

1. replace http://www.aclu.org/ with whatever URL you want;

2. replace Text for link (not the URL) with whatever title you want.

Ignore the -> Text for linke (not the URL)


Unfortunately, I can't type an example for you because it would give me the actual link. I hope this helps.

Posted by: Ian | Dec 21, 2017 8:46:52 PM | 136

Daniel,

See Learning HTML Links for details. Only concern yourself with the A tags.

Posted by: Ian | Dec 21, 2017 8:51:17 PM | 137

@ Daniel asking for HTML help

at my web site scroll down to the bottom and click on my contact name which will bring up an email box ahich I assume you can use from there

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 21, 2017 8:52:42 PM | 138

Forest @ 101

South Africa. And, for once, I am proud as we are downgrading the Israeli embassy to not much more than a post office box despite the rumours that the new leader of the ANC is “Western leaning.”

The other stuff is not so heartening, though.

Posted by: E | Dec 21, 2017 10:25:33 PM | 139

Good and relevant thread b, thanks for the therapy and entertainment produced. I especially

liked bevin @ 31 who said:" They know that that what they are doing is daylight robbery.

But it is their calculation that, given total surveillance of the population, given a massively armed police system (including the armed forces and mercenaries at their command) and the compliance and assistance of the media, the Academy and the intelligentsia- they are beyond the reach of democracy. That no popular movement could succeed and, if by any miscalculation it were to win an election it would never be allowed anywhere close to the levers of power. "

I am LMFAO at some commentators here who seem to believe that removing all traffic signals will solve a traffic problem.

Good read all, thanks!!!

Posted by: ben | Dec 21, 2017 10:39:35 PM | 140

Don Bacon @ 120 cherry-picked parts of the article I linked to @ 117 to try to discredit my comment. Here's the full context of what he selectively said:

"WEEKS BEFORE THE Republican-led Congress moved toward final passage of its corporate tax cut bill, major companies had already begun a surge of stock buybacks — confirming critics’ fears that the windfall of lower rates will be used for self-enrichment rather than job growth.

Home Depot led the buyback splurge, pocketing $15 billion. On an earnings call held earlier this month, the company’s CFO Carol Tomé quietly admitted the strategy, when asked about the impact of tax reform on the firm:

'It really all depends on if it happens and when it happens and how we would spend it. Cash is fungible. Right now, we’re thinking it might not happen until 2019, so obviously we are using internally generated cash in 2018 to invest in the business and return capital to our shareholders. If it were to happen in 2019, we might use the tax — cash tax savings to invest in the business and then use — generated cash to back buy [sic] shares, it’s all fungible. The point is, we’re going to generate a lot, we may get some from tax reform and we will use it. We will invest back in the business, and we will return it our [sic] shareholders.'

By “return it to our shareholders,” she is referring to a buyback, which drives up the price of a stock and can come with dividends as well. Typically, executives hold much of their wealth in company stock, and their compensation is tied to the performance of the shares.

Other corporations are expected to use the windfall to increase mergers and acquisitions (M&A) or invest in automation. “Industry executives have been eagerly anticipating tax reform in earnings calls, interviews and casual conversation all year. Multiple CEOs have projected major M&A activity will follow if any kind of corporate rate reduction is finalized, further accelerating the rapid pace of consolidation in the industry,” wrote one industry publication about how waste companies are anticipating tax reform ..."

The headline was not misleading but Don Bacon's comment was.

Posted by: Jen | Dec 21, 2017 10:58:22 PM | 141

@119 daniel... thanks...

Posted by: james | Dec 21, 2017 11:56:33 PM | 142

The bigger problem is government spending, specifically for the military and foreign relations.
We don't need to out-spend the next 10 contenders. I say, cut military spending by 75% down to parity with China.
Withdraw all troops from foreign countries. End the embargoes.Recognize Russia's right to Crimea. Leave NATO. End all foreign aid, especially military aid for Israel. Shut down the new NSA HQ in Utah. Cut our "dues" to the UN (and if they don't like it, withdraw.)
We'd have enough left over to help folks who can't afford medical insurance AND build the wall.

Posted by: Fidelios Automata | Dec 22, 2017 12:04:14 AM | 143

Daniel | Dec 21, 2017 8:14:07 PM | 129

Here's the link from your comment #129 embedded in HTML:

Abby Martin went to the scene of a recent massacre, and is interviewed about the situation on The Real News with Paul Jay:

Daniel's Link

BTW: Can anyone teach me how to post these HTML tags?

Check the validity of your HTML link syntax in the 'Preview' window; in this example, 'Daniel's Link' (sans single quotes) is all you should see.

Hope that helps.

Posted by: Herk | Dec 22, 2017 12:46:56 AM | 144

@Daniel #127

Unfortunately, what I had written before disappeared into thin virtual air. But without my desk top, I have to 'write' on my phone.

The apologia for corporations that wafts around like the smell of a fresh pile of feces on discussion boards like this, shows either the prevalent ignorance of people, or their complicity in the preservation of an inhumane status quo that prioritizes the bottom line versus the responsibility of being part of a society, or as in the case of corporations, being beneficiaries of the combined productivity of such society.
Corporations are more parasitical, as, what they have to do in return to keep their hosts alive is only means to an end. There is no caring for consumers' wellbeing, other than what is required to keep consumers generating their profits.

At that, only co-operations will take care of their employees, as their employees are also their owners. Co-ops are the antidote to parasitical corporations - re-investing profits that would otherwise end up in a e.g. 'private airplane', yacht, or mansion. Simplified.

Co-operations also contribute to a much larger extend to the communities they are located in. The reason why corporations still rule society, lies in the revolving door between legislative and corporate leadership. Lobbyism is the single most destructive means of controlling/creating favorable operating conditions for corporations.

Today I was part of a discussion based on a remark made in this thread. "Mussolini" and his fate. Above anything, Mussolini was a corporatist that viewed the fusion of corporate powers with state powers as ideal and goal.

I searched for the images of his and his mattresses' demise. The images show the two Fascists hanging up side down at a gas station under construction. I pointed out that it was ironic that this gas station was a "Standard Oil" gas station. Standard Oil was not only Mussolini's preferred corporation. Standard Oil's history is as dark as the history of Fascism.

Contrary to co-operations, corporations are not bound by ethics, or moral benchmarks of their employees. The shareholders ROI trumps considerations for the wellbeing of their employees and customers. It is sufficient to call customer support of any major corporation to find out how much the corporation cares about the entities that sustain their existence. One will have to endure an AI before ever to speak to a customer service representative in India.
I intend to write a book about my disturbing experiences with communication corporations.

As a result of the Mussolini discussion, I conceived the idea for a T-shirt with the hanging Mussolinis on it: "REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED TO MUSSOLINI?"

Posted by: nottheonly1 | Dec 22, 2017 1:26:57 AM | 145

...
BTW: Can anyone teach me how to post these HTML tags? I do not understand the descriptions.
Posted by: Daniel | Dec 21, 2017 8:14:07 PM | 129

It's probably too simple. There's nothing to understand.
The instructions explain, with perfect clarity, how to post a link to the website of aclu.org and name it "Text for link (not the URL)"

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 22, 2017 1:28:24 AM | 146

Daniel | Dec 21, 2017 8:14:07 PM | 129

Oops! That didn't help at all. Sorry.

Posted by: Herk | Dec 22, 2017 1:37:40 AM | 147

Fidelios Automata @143:

It's a little more complicated than a reduction in spending. Regardless of what plan you bring forward, it all hinges on the quality of the politicians. Sadly they're more concerned with themselves than their constituents. Don't be surprised if the smart ones are trying to rob whatever is left in the treasury, and squirrel it away in some foreign bank. The rest of them will end up as wind chimes.

Posted by: Ian | Dec 22, 2017 1:54:26 AM | 148

Daniel | Dec 21, 2017 8:14:07 PM | 129

The following steps should produce the result I was after in my botched initial attempt:

1. Given MoA's embedded URL example code,
minus the arrow and all that follows (i.e.→ Text for link (not the))
<A HREF="http://www.aclu.org/">Text for link (not the URL)</A>

2. Replace its quoted URL "http://www.aclu.org/" with yours "https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBLiisKrpsk? .
<A HREF="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBLiisKrpsk">Text for link </A>

3. Replace its 'Text for link' with your name for the linked URL (e.g. Daniel's Link Name):
<A HREF="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBLiisKrpsk">Daniel's Link Name </A>

4. And 'Daniel's Link Name' is all that should remain...
Daniel's Link Name

Herk

Posted by: Herk | Dec 22, 2017 3:35:32 AM | 149

Probably no one will listen to this; but it's some knowledgable people (Daniel Lazare and investigative reporter Dave Lindorff) discussing the new tax bill;
https://sputniknews.com/radio_loud_and_clear/201712211060186521-loot-plunder-pillage-unmasking-the-republican-tax-plan/
You may have to hit the dl symbol to listen to it.
It should lay out a clear understanding of just what the bill will actually do.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Dec 22, 2017 3:37:50 AM | 150

Arguing how taxation should be structured in a centralised monetary system predicated on perpetual fiscal deficits, does not solve the underlying arithmetical problem.

The diminishing marginal utility of debt guarantees that perpetual fiscal deficits will divest the many and concentrate title in the hands of the sponsors of the monetary system.

Considerations of whom gets taxed more or less, whom gets deductions, whom gets exemptions or what activity should be taxed, merely have temporary, albeit asymmetrical, effects on the overall fiscal health of the state.

Eventually however, the arithmetic underpinning the system guarantees that the collateral that has been pledged against the loans will be appropriated.

This is an arithmetical identity that transcends political persuasion.

The only variable is time.

Posted by: guidoamm | Dec 22, 2017 3:40:54 AM | 151

didn't any of you boobs notice the 29 trillion in unauthorized spending in the departments of Defense and Housing and Urban Development for the years 1998-2015?

that's 29 TRILLION in less than 20 years!

so yeah, let's split hairs over another fucking tax bill.

sheesh!

Posted by: john | Dec 22, 2017 5:44:30 AM | 152

Here in Missouri, the new Trump tax legislation is expected to lead to a $1 billion decrease in state revenues.
This will greatly impact all services and institutions that rely upon state funding, including schools and universities.

Posted by: Perimtr | Dec 22, 2017 6:22:08 AM | 153

@John #152

Remember the outcry about the pallets of cash for Isis found in the Iraqi desert? That was part of these $ 29 trillions. Or the armored vehicle packed with gold in the basement of WTC that disappeared? Building 7 and it's contents?

It's all before eyes wide open. But American Idol among other really important shows is more grounds for discussions.

Thanks to the corporate Nazi Bernays. Not even record suicide numbers can deter the population from business as usual. Or splitting hairs at that.

Record suicide numbers, record homeless numbers, record incarcerations, record opiod addicts, record military spending, record surveillance, record cyber Monday spending, record illiteracy - the list simply does not end.

Maybe people are overwhelmed by the degree and extend they are getting shafted? Or they assume it is god's will? Yes, that must be it. "God's in control" is what way too many cars carry as bumper sticker.

Posted by: nottheonly1 | Dec 22, 2017 8:53:11 AM | 154

"This article is ridiculous. Tax cuts always spur economic activity. Comcast, Boeing and ATT are giving out $1000 bonuses to hundreds of thousands of employees to celebrate."
Posted by: S Grekko | Dec 21, 2017 3:05:20 PM | 106

Grekko then describes various benefits that rained on US economy prior to the new tax law. For that matter, Comcast etc. do not give benefits on the basis of the future lower tax bill, so either they are unrelated, or Grekko gazes into a crystal ball and describes (what he understands as) the future.

Stimulating demand with all free trade agreements in place is pouring water into a leaky bucket. Import goes up, retail goes up, more temp workers in retails with shabby salaries, more mail order business, expansion of Amazon warehouses, plus a bit of increase in domestic production. Then the expansion of credit into a new bout of real estate boom and bust.

In the meantime, USA has the worst subway systems (except Mexico, yeah! USA! USA!), lack of affordable housing prevents labor mobility away from depressed area where people are depressed and die of drug overdoses, no development in those areas, infrastructure is substandard (millions still have tap water with lead, to mention one problem) and so on.

Back to spurring the economy. If low taxes spur the economy, high taxes should depress it, yet a number of countries, say, Denmark, have decent per capita growth coexisting with much higher taxes than in USA. Taxes are basically a way of spending money, and the spending can be wise, foolish and anything in between. Right now in USA we have a competition between mediocre approach (my view of mainstream Democrats) and disastrous, and indeed, Democrats have shown capacity of wasting a lot of money. A tiny example: NY subway, the one better than in Mexico City but gradually deteriorating, actually gets quite a bit of money, but it has fantastically high costs.

A larger example: Obama Care fixed "uninsurability problem" to a large extend, but made only a modest dent in the expansion of healthcare costs, getting it down to, say, Canadian level is impossible in the current system, so again we have a leaky bucket situation. But Republican solution is to give the poor and sick the freedom of being priced out of the health care. Mind you, they do not have the option "at least give me obsolete less expensive stuff and care, like it was 40 years ago". And with costs increasing for those who can afford them. Mediocrity vs disaster.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 22, 2017 9:55:32 AM | 155

Piotr @155 I agree with a lot of your analysis. I would like to see the idea that taxes spur spending revised though.

""Taxes are basically a way of spending money,""

Taxes are definitely useful but mainly for redistribution purposes and should be very progressive including all taxes such as sales tax which has been mentioned here.

As seen by the banking sector and military, the government can spend on things it sees as useful without taxes.

Taxation for Revenue is Obsolete

Posted by: financial matters | Dec 22, 2017 10:21:22 AM | 156

- Whenever I hear the words "Reagan saved the US economy" I know the person, who is saying this, is overlooking A LOT OF points.
- Yes, the Reagan template surely applies to this taxbill. Reagan lowered the taxrates but also reduced the amount of deductions. His successor G.H.W. Bush increased the taxrates without introducing new taxdeductions. Bill Clinton and Obama did the same in the 1990s and the 2010s.

- I DO think the taxdeductions for mortgage interest payments, state and local taxes should be eliminated ASAP !!!!

Posted by: Willy2 | Dec 22, 2017 3:45:34 PM | 158

I am always amused by this topic (no one should take this personally, I'm referring to the professional MSM) on how people talk past each other.

Republican hacks: "Tax cuts ALWAYS spur economic growth, that's why Democrats are against them, they want to control everyone's money."

Democrat Partisans: "Trickle down has NEVER worked anytime it has been tried, it's an excuse to take money from the poor and middle class and give it to the rich"

Such absolutist statements, polar opposites of each other and spoken with such conviction, whenever they are stated the people are on shows where their statements are accepted without challenge.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Dec 22, 2017 3:59:48 PM | 159

@Daniel
The link didn't work - did you mean this one...?
https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/voters-are-skeptical-of-the-gop-tax-bill-overall-not-just-whether-theyll-get-a-cut/

The ideal of pure market capitalism is not attainable, like any ideal, but in lowering taxes you get closer to it. Making a tax code more simplified so that any chump like Trump can understand it is a big tax break in itself.

The Don is delivering...he just needs to reintroduce the rule of law that was so vacant for successive POTUS's, demonstrate a few 'line in the sand' moments and he's gonna win a good few more passengers on the Trump Train. With the Democrats still mired in Russiagate delirium, Trump 2020 is in the bag people. Its 'toot toot all aboard' domestically.

And what's not to like on the international front...?

Russia looks like the most trustworthy, responsible foreign power in half a century, maybe more, when posed against the misdeeds and failed foreign policies of the US. The Great is taking off the mask and giving the US the nasty face it truly has, in turn exposing the dark Zionist / Wahabbi coalition for the evil that it is.

Fair play.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Dec 23, 2017 7:11:35 AM | 160

Mad Max. Sorry, but no. The article was showing that the median income of Trump voters was $71,000. Not at all the MSM narrative of "working class whites" we were fed (and constantly claimed by the Donald.

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-mythology-of-trumps-working-class-support/

So of course, high income earners are thrilled with this new "Tax Reform." It cuts their taxes, while screwing over those very "working class whites" who were suckered into voting for President Trump®.

Posted by: Daniel | Dec 23, 2017 10:22:55 PM | 161

And Mad, "And what's not to like on the international front...?"

Well, there's the 4,000 to 5,000 regular military "boots on the ground" that the Pentagon says we have in Syria, and which they say will stay indefinitely. There's the shooting down of a Russian jet, and at least 3 bombings of Syrian forces.

There's the $1/2 billion in weapons Trump just OK'd for the nazis in Ukraine. There's building NATO into its largest, most well funded force in history, with a half dozen new deployments along Russias "Near Abroad," that was heralded with NATOs largest ever military "drills" along Russia's "near abroad."

There's the rapid expansion of military bases and more dead US military personnel in Africa as we move to install more "friendly" neocolonial regimes in resource rich Central Africa.

If you liked the foreign policy of Bush II and Obama, you must LOVE Trump.

Posted by: Daniel | Dec 23, 2017 10:30:44 PM | 162

@Daniel 161, 162
Yeah,I'm quite skeptical of yer man Silver and crew...was once a disciple. His 'ultra scientific' take on the 2016 election wasn't helped by his rampant bias. But what sort of quality can we expect in the age of fake news, hurt feelings and kneejerk emotive reactions...? I wouldnt argue with the 71K median income stat though, not at all. Trump gamed the election process like a seasoned pro, and is gaming the next election as we speak. His 71K avg wage voter base looks very secure, as the article you post rightly points out. Won't help the broken ex-coalminers in Virginia, but i dont think anyone could. And this is the democracy the US wants to export.

So, I must assume that you preferred Hilary as a candidate, since you cannot see the benefit of the world of nations turning on the USA. Either that of you are searching for Jesus.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Dec 24, 2017 6:06:08 AM | 163

@162 daniel, @163 max

A bumbling moron as POTUS is indeed preferable over a true-believer interventionist like Hillary. DT is just obscene enough to disgust Europe into doubting their unbreakable alliance for NATO-styled operations. Europe is not free from neoliberal-interventionist policy, but DT does weaken their initiative and infuses doubt.

The Ukraine deal is just business. You need shitty-Ukrainian regulars to man those TOWs, which Donbass has been rocking (Kornets?) since the beginning. I doubt the Russians are worried, although ongoing, indiscrimate artillery is abhorrent. But once again does not win favor of the eastern Ukrainians. It just reinforces their resolve to fight Kiev. The Ukrainians are teetering on the edge of another coup. Russia's vocalized "worry" is not unlike their constant objections during the Syrian war. They look like the big boys and they are going to win in the end anyway.

The same goes for Syria. The cockblocking will continue. Is it ignorant to say that no one is legitimately worried over US presence there?

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Dec 24, 2017 2:05:34 PM | 164

MadMax2. Yeah, The Donald (and his team) played the system (and most of us) quite well.

No, I abhor HRC. One reason I was relieved the Clinton Crime Family didn't get back into the White House was that I hoped those Trump supporters we were being told about wouldn't be so willing as the Obama/Clinton supporters to deny and even defend every broken promise and horrible thing once he got (s)elected.

Despite some early signs that might prove true (shock when he told his fans to "honor the Clintons for their decades of public service," befuddlement when he filled the Swamp with more Goldman Sachs alumni than any other President, and outright anger the first time he bombed Syrian forces), the MSM narrative has apparently succeeded in giving them excuses to ignore Trump's actions and pretend he really is some sort of hero.

These past couple of years have presented the most awesome propaganda/psyops operation of my life.

Posted by: Daniel | Dec 24, 2017 11:17:08 PM | 165

Yeah, NemesisCalling. Again, I do not in any way believe the MSM narrative about #TheRealDonaldTrump. I do not believe that the Reality TV Show Character he played was real. I do not believe the Reality TV Presidential Character he is playing is real.

He was never an "outsider." He is merely continuing and escalating both the NeoCon foreign policy and NeoLiberal domestic and foreign policies of his predecessors. Otherwise, he'd get FIRED (or fired on).

If there is any silver lining, it's that he's removed the happy mask on the US's tyrannical actions, which is making it clear to more people that we are a rogue nation that cannot be trusted in anything. Not that most people of the world didn't already know that to some degree, but too many still wanted to "hope."

By now it should be clear to all that we will not honor any agreement except to the supra-national financial interests who control our government, and those industries from which they profit.

Posted by: Daniel | Dec 24, 2017 11:28:31 PM | 166

I'm jest dazed and confused. ;)

Posted by: Forest | Dec 24, 2017 11:44:05 PM | 167

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